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Works the Checkout to Live

He calls me, "Speed Racer," because I use a mobility scooter.

Chris is a portly, stooped over man, missing his front teeth. Never asked him, but I be guess'n somewhere about 70 years old.

His eyes always look hollow, but they sparkle a bit when it comes my turn in the checkout line.

There's a reason, I guess. He's been toothless since I've known him. Recently, I had my front teeth removed and our smiles matched. I could comfortably ask him how long his teeth had been missing.

"So long now, I no longer want them."

A full thud moment of the gut, that poverty stabs at you from its own heart and requires no explanation to the soul, was my answer.

For weeks we gummed our fellowship and became kindred spirits. Chris ain't doing the checking out, I ain't doing the shopping. Yeah, it's like that big time. Ain't got any loyalty to the store, except Chris do'n the checking out.

But, I worry about him. He is polite to all customers, loyal to his job and employer, but his eyes barely know joy anymore.

I know his real smile. I don't think the store's corporate headquarters knows it, but they profit greatly by it.

Chis? Not so much.

My gut knows he's really struggling. Heck, anyone with a minute amount of awareness, can tell it. Way too old to have to stand most of his working day, when compassion calls for a stool on wheels and the job done satisfactory.

Human decency, perhaps?

Only customers with hollow souls would object to a checker using a wheeled stool. Tells me what this corporation's leaders thinks of its employees.

Pretty sad.

I haven't got the right to ask Chris why he isn't retired and collecting his Social Security Earned Benefit. But, it don't take a brain to know the answer.

Something he needed for so long, he no longer wants it.

He's just trying to survive before his creator checks him out.

Merry Christmas, indeed.

Originally posted to Wendy's Wink on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 11:58 AM PST.

Also republished by Invisible People.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    Hope and Forward, my Ass! I Think President Obama is Dyslexic. He Keeps Going Forward into Republicanism and Hopes Nobody Notices.

    by Wendys Wink on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 11:58:40 AM PST

  •  teeth are a big taboo topic (8+ / 0-)

    they are a highly visible indicator of socio-economic status.  People will speak of their relationship to their genitalia with more comfort than they will have speaking about their teeth.

    Thus, those with bright shiny perfect teeth often bare them at each other and the rest of us to show their standing.  The even, perfect, whiteness being, of course, a indicator of God's favor, as is one's Lexus.

    There are cultures that consider bared teeth to be a form of aggression.

    I could go on at great length...

    So Wendy, are you ever likely to take an opportunity to meet with a fellow NM Kossak? I have so enjoyed your presence here and I'd like to see who you are.  I promise to wear all my teeth.

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 01:21:08 PM PST

    •  Hi Claude! Are you sure you would really want this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      isabelle hayes, JayRaye, claude

      meeting? Afterwards, you would lose the mental image  you have of me through my diaries and you would lose the magic. If that is a risk you are willing to take, then come mid-Spring when my breathing improves just a tad, let me know your answer and we can make arrangements.

      Merry Christmas, my friend!

      P.S. My writing is my strength and boldness. I am very, very shy and a really lousy conversationalist. That is what I mean by "losing the magic." Daily Kos and my diaries are what allows me to break those bonds and reveal myself in all of its good, bad and ugliness.

      Hope and Forward, my Ass! I Think President Obama is Dyslexic. He Keeps Going Forward into Republicanism and Hopes Nobody Notices.

      by Wendys Wink on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 05:01:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  teeth taboos! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wendys Wink, JayRaye

    my husband and I go crazy trying to get our kid to keep his 6-mo cleaning up! he looks so good when his teeth are clean but he refuses to brush with anything but water, so gradually, gradually, this weird, black grunge accumulates at the gum line on his front teeth, upper & lower... it never gets as far as halfway, but it looks terrible.

    The dentist and hygienists don't have any idea what it is, but have mentioned that sometimes unusual bacteria colonize swimming pool water, and he took lessons for years and years. He's been "out of the water" for a little over a year and there MAY have been some improvement, but we're sure it would be better if he'd just use the tartar-control/whitening! He absolutely abhors the mint flavors that are in everything these days, and doesn't like how it throws off the flavor of even water after using the toothpaste!

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:19:45 PM PST

    •  Some asthma or COPD medications can form a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      isabelle hayes, JayRaye

      black film on teeth, even if a person rinses after taking their dose. That's why I lost my teeth.

      Funny, though. Medicare will pay for my prescriptions, but not for dental care required because of the medications.

      Go figure. Kind of like Medicare paying to suture your cut up, but won't allow antibiotics.

      Hope and Forward, my Ass! I Think President Obama is Dyslexic. He Keeps Going Forward into Republicanism and Hopes Nobody Notices.

      by Wendys Wink on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 04:49:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  i love you ww but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wendys Wink

    i don't like your new sig line...i'm still hoping he's outwitted the bastards

    and i do very much like your raising the missing health care coverage for dental work, which any informed person knows is essential to a healthy person, both physically and socially

    and i very much like your special relationship to Chris, i have a few of those myself, people i see regularly, working hard for very little money and no safety net, with whom i share a quiet humanlike connection

    •  I understand about the sig line. But, it is what I (0+ / 0-)

      am coming to actually believe.

      PBO is a good man with a big heart, but he is still human and stumbles like the rest of us.

      But, I voted for a democrat from the real center to the middle left and his campaign speeches were between those two points. His governing, though, is right of center, betraying his own words.

      So, I voted for him twice and donated what I couldn't really afford. Therefore, I have the absolute right and responsibility to call him out. He said, "Make me do it."

      That I believe and am trying to do what he asked, even if it is harsh at times.

      If Markos insists on better democrats. I'm all for that, but a democrat that puts the most sacred promise to the common people on a negotiation table for political expedience, isn't a better democrat in any way, shape or form.

      He remains, for me and I'm sure many others, the less of two evils. There is no honor in that position.

      Merry Christmas, my beautiful friend! I'll give more  thought to my sig line, but can't make any promises.

      Hope and Forward, my Ass! I Think President Obama is Dyslexic. He Keeps Going Forward into Republicanism and Hopes Nobody Notices.

      by Wendys Wink on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 09:00:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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